Hope leads to motivation.

Three Amigos starting LightSpeed Lift

Original partners: Dan Stein, Malcolm Macaulay, and Vern Johnson

Rehabilitation after trauma has survivor smiling

Twenty-five years ago, the power of Body Weight Support (BWS) or Anti-Gravity Therapy to provide hope and help people move with confidence became personal.  A friend of mine, Dan, had lost his ability to run following a C7 compression injury.  Years ago, I constructed a homemade BWS device and connected it to him while he ran. When his weight was reduced, Dan’s neck pain was eliminated.  His smile radiates in my heart to this day. 

Dan, and his best friend Vern Johnson, became LightSpeed business partners with me.

For a deep dive into how LightSpeed Lift started, read "Lifting the Burden."

Keep reading!

The search for an empowerment tool.

Incorporating BWS into the treatment plans for diagnosis’s such as spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, post ACL surgery or ankle sprains or stress reactions, or sacral sprains improved outcomes.  The problem was that available systems were expensive, uncomfortable, and unreliable.  Body weight supported gait training for most people’s rehabilitation never caught on.  I developed a system that latched to the hip out of frustration with centralizing the lifting force to the client’s chest wall.  My paradigm shift freed up breathing, arm motion, and comfort problems inherent in the trunk latching systems.

Since 2012 this system of “Lift From The Hip” BWS gait training has changed the paradigm and expectations of who benefits from BWS training and rehabilitation.  Top-level athletes, people with acquired or disuse weakness, and those who have suffered accidents, leaving them with significant neurological and muscular weakness, can stand, walk and run better than ever.  Because of LightSpeed’s simplicity and economy, BWS training can be available to everyone, including those in top rehabilitation programs, university athletic programs, physical therapy clinics, fitness centers, and people’s homes.  “Movement for Every Body” is now a reality.


In the ten years since bringing LightSpeed Lift public, I have driven over 100,000 miles, spoken to countless professionals, and watched thousands of faces sport the LightSpeed Smile as they experience the magic of improved mobility.  Often the entire posture changes from resignation and frustration to a lighter, brighter, hopeful bearing that beams.  Hope is powerful medicine.  

Having seen so many smiles, I was unprepared for the emotional impact that LightSpeed Lift had on myself, Vern Johnsen, and his wife, Marilou.  Vern, a former 2:34 marathoner and a hall of fame high school XC and track coach, fractured his cervical spine in December of 2020.  Initially, he had quadriplegia.  Although Vern was gaining use of all four limbs walking and standing without the full support of a walker was impossible.  His future mobility was questionable, and he might need to live out his life in an assisted living facility.  To say that Vern and his family were frightened, anxious, and depressed would most likely understate the feelings.  

Hope leads to motivation.

Vern Johnson is finding hope after injury with a vision he helped create

However, Vern has incredible faith and drive.  The first thing he arranged for when he went home from rehab on a trial basis was to have a treadmill placed in his living room.  A LightSpeed Lift system arrived two days later.  With eager anticipation, Vern approached the treadmill and connected to the LightSpeed system.  Marilou and I were holding our breath and poised to help save Vern as he prepared to let go and stand independently.  Vern took a few deep breaths, lifted his head, and slowly let go.  His face glowed, and 20 years of worry went out of Marilou’s face.  They looked at each other, and I could hear the unspoken feeling, “we’ve got this.”  Hope leads to motivation.  Give people the tool to move better, and they will use it.

#LightSpeedSmile is for everyone, even spouses! Marilou looks on with wonder.

Watching Vern walk fueled my engine.  He now has a tool in his home that empowers him.  LightSpeed Lift is a tool that meets him where his abilities are and will take them to where he wants to go, independent walking. 

Hope leads to motivation. What is your story?

Can LightSpeed Lift be a part of it?

Safe, effective, efficient, empowering, life-changing, anti-gravity support for use clinically, in the community, or the home.  

To learn more about how LightSpeed Lift can change your life, contact:

Bud Trnka bud@lightspeedlift.com 218-481-7242

Malcolm Macaulay malcolm@lightspeedlift.com 218-391-5459

Vern's LightSpeed: